A tale of two defectors: The importance of standing for evolution of indirect reciprocity

Karthik Panchanathan, Robert Boyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

234 Scopus citations

Abstract

Indirect reciprocity occurs when the cooperative behavior between two individuals is contingent on their previous behavior toward others. Previous theoretical analysis indicates that indirect reciprocity can evolve if individuals use an image-scoring strategy. In this paper, we show that, when errors are added, indirect reciprocity cannot be based on an image-scoring strategy. However, if individuals use a standing strategy, then cooperation through indirect reciprocity is evolutionarily stable. These two strategies differ with respect to the information to which they attend. While image-scoring strategies only need attend to the actions of others, standing strategies also require information about intent. We speculate that this difference may shed light on the evolvability of indirect reciprocity. Additionally, we show that systems of indirect reciprocity are highly sensitive to the availability of information. Finally, we present a model which shows that if indirect reciprocity were to evolve, selection should also favor trusting behavior in relations between strangers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-126
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Volume224
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 7 2003
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Altruism
  • Cooperation
  • Generalized exchange
  • Image score
  • Indirect reciprocity
  • Reputation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics

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